Loading
Archbishop Chaput may intervene in Philadelphia teacher strike
By Benjamin Mann
Cardinal Justin Rigali and Archbishop-designate Charles Chaput in Philadelphia's chancery on July 19, 2011
Cardinal Justin Rigali and Archbishop-designate Charles Chaput in Philadelphia's chancery on July 19, 2011

.- Philadelphia Archbishop Charles J. Chaput may become involved in ending a Catholic high school teacher's strike, though the archdiocese says he will not take any action until after his installation.

“I'm not averse at all to becoming involved personally, in a direct way, if that's good for our schools and good for our teachers," the recently-appointed archbishop told CBS 3 reporter Pat Ciarrocchi. Shortly after his arrival in the city, unionized Catholic high school teachers rejected a contract offer and announced they were on strike as of Sept. 6.

But the archdiocese's Associate Director of Communications Kenneth Gavin told CNA that if Archbishop Chaput does intervene, it would not occur until after his Sept. 8 installation. The teachers' union says it will not picket the installation – expected to draw up to 1,500 guests, including 700 cardinals, bishops, priests, deacons, and seminarians – out of respect for the archbishop.

Archdiocesan Communications Specialist Meredith Wilson said that negotiations with the teachers would begin the next day, even though church officials “wanted them to start today.” The meetings are slated to last through Sept. 12, with a break on Saturday.

As of Sept. 6, the archdiocese and its unionized high school teachers had failed to agree not only on a future contract, but also on the matter of what had caused the strike.

The archdiocese said in a press release that the high school teachers' union “broke off negotiations early Tuesday morning after very little progress was made in weekend negotiating sessions.” The archdiocese said its representatives were “willing to talk until the last minute,” but found the union unwilling to proceed with further discussion.

In its statement, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia said it “made multiple concessions in our proposals and believes the contract offered to the teachers is equitable.” Archdiocesan officials hope the teachers' union “will recognize that a strike is not in their best interest and most certainly not in the best interest of our students and their families.”

But Rita Schwartz, president of the Association of Catholic Teachers Local 1776, gave the Pottstown Mercury newspaper a different account of what led to the strike. She said the teachers “did not walk away from the table” but “reached an impasse” where no further negotiations were possible.

“They handed us a proposal with 20 items on it at 4:30 (on Monday),” Schwartz told the Mercury. “We worked on it and gave it back to them and they said, ‘You have to accept all of it or none of it' … That’s not negotiating. That means we’re at an impasse and we can no longer negotiate.”

Both sides, however, acknowledge that the disagreement involves larger questions than the usual concerns over pay and benefits.

The union is primarily concerned for teachers' job security in the future. The archdiocese wants to hire part-time teachers, in response to what it describes as an “ever-changing 21st century educational landscape.” Full-time employees also feel uncertainty about what will happen to their jobs if the archdiocese continues to close or merge schools.

The union's 711 lay and religious instructors currently teach in 17 Catholic high schools with a combined student population of around 16,500. The current numbers represent a significant drop from nearly 20,000 pupils in 20 schools just three years ago.

The strike is not affecting Catholic elementary schools since those teachers are not unionized.


Ads by AdsLiveMedia(What's this?)

* The number of messages that can be online is limited. CNA reserves the right to edit messages for content and tone. Comments and opinions expressed by users do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of CNA. CNA will not publish comments with abusive language, insults or links to other pages

RESOURCES »

Ads by Google (What's this?)

Featured Videos

Pilgrimage from Czech Republic to Assisi and Rome for intentions
Pilgrimage from Czech Republic to Assisi and Rome for intentions
Testimony of young Indian who met Pope in Korea
Preparations of the Closing Mass of 6th Asian Youth Day
Missionary of Charity, Korea
Testimony of Christian Love during Pope's Visit to Korea
Religious Sisters in South Korea react to Pope Francis kissing a baby
Warm atmosphere during Holy Mass at Daejeon World Cup Stadium
Images inside Pope Francis flight to South Korea
The tombs of the early Christians
Missionaries of Africa, called "the White Fathers"
Italian youth give testimony after mission to Peru
Interview with Iraqi Ambassador to the Holy See on the persecution of Christians
New book 'The Vatican unknown'
A Look at India from Rome
3D Church mapping
#PAUSEforPeace Initiative
Dedicating art to San Juan de la Cruz
A state without territory elects new government
The renewal of the Legionaries of Christ
Presentation of the book "The Pastor"
Aug
22

Liturgical Calendar

August 22, 2014

The Queenship of the Blessed Virgin Mary

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Mt 22:34-40

Gospel
Date
08/22/14
08/19/14
08/18/14

Daily Readings


First Reading:: Ezek 37: 1-14
Gospel:: Mt 22: 34-40

Saint of the Day

Queenship of Mary »

Saint
Date
08/19/14

Homily of the Day

Mt 22:34-40

Homily
Date
08/22/14
08/19/14
08/18/14

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com
     HTML
Text only
Headlines
  

Follow us: